The whole process of pulling this quixotic adventure together has been a learning experience on my part. This is the first time I have really tried to organize anything as part of my travels, since I have been almost completely a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants traveler up to now.
But when I was talking to friends about doing a long train trip for adventure and challenge, I was quickly talked into expanding the concept out to include some great fellow travel bloggers. Having some of them do this with me is undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest highlights to the entire journey.
When I was exchanging emails with potential people about joining in, I knew it would be a challenge to be able to get people’s schedules to mesh together and also for everyone to be able to afford the time and money to engage in this bit of silliness. Luckily, I managed to assemble a group of six of my favorite people to tentatively agree to do it.
Unfortunately, the busy schedule of real life claimed one of my minions last week. (OK, joking on the minions part, but loved that Monty Python clip and needed a reason to post it up).
And alas, I am not joking about losing one of our participants. Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View shot me a note last week saying that her real life duties were going to preclude her ability to cross half the world by train this September.
Pam has been an immensely valuable resource to me during my stumbling around during the planning stages. She’s always been quick to reply to my “how do I pitch this” or “how best to approach this” emails that I have inundated her with over the past few months and she’s promised to not forward my future pleas for help and advice into her spam folder.
I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t give her a huge public “thank you” and shout-out of appreciation here. Plus, she’s informed me that she’s ordering bourbon for my “Beer Tab from Hell” night at TBEX and I’ve always had a soft spot for anyone that likes my winter alcohol choice.
While I am incredibly disappointed that Pam won’t be joining us (this year), this post does have a happy ending.
I was chatting with Jeannie Mark of Nomadic Chick on Facebook a day or so after I got Pam’s email. She was harassing me about something or another (people tend to do that a lot with me) and then popped off in mock anger that I hadn’t invited her on the Ultimate Train Challenge back when I was forming it up. I told her that I didn’t think it would be her kind of gig and she indigently said she’d have been perfect for it.
I told her to put her backpack where here mouth was and join us, since there was a spot that just opened up. I sorta’ figured that she’d back up a little bit with some excuses about schedule or money or wanting to do something else that time of year.
Nope…. “I’m in” was her immediate reply.
So, she’s in. And I’m excited. She’s going to be a great addition to our cast of characters, even though I think half her posts may end up just taunting me in some fashion or another. She does have to back up some of her big words though — she has been kicking around India for months and somehow thinks that her experiences on Indian trains are going to give her a leg up on the rest of us for this challenge.
We’ll see about that.
So welcome aboard, Ms. Nomadic Chick. We look forward to your contributions to our little endeavor and are excited to have a new member of the team.